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Posts Tagged ‘Alaska’

This month’s Up Here magazine includes a short essay I wrote about my time at Slaven’s Roadhouse last winter. It’s not online (yet, at least – I’ll update if that changes) but if you can put your hands on a hard copy, check it out!

I’m excited to have my first story in Up Here, one of my very favorite magazines. Bonus excitement: The story is illustrated with a cartoon that was commissioned just for the piece (another first for me) – and it pictures yours truly sitting on the can. Pretty cool, right?

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After what seems like a long silence on the story front, I have a few recently published items to share:

First up, I’ve got a pair of Top 10 lists on NationalGeographic.com — Top 10 Foods to Eat in Ontario and Top 10 Family Activities in Ontario.

Next, now that World Hum is back in action I’ve been busy again over there. An interview I did with author Rachel Friedman was posted today: Interview with Rachel Friedman: ‘The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost’.

A few weeks back Matador published this story: Profiling five national parks in Alaska.

And lastly, it’s not online but if you get a chance to check out the July 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest Canada, I have a short piece in there about The Boreal Gourmet, a locavore cookbook by Whitehorse author Michele Genest.

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I’ve got a few odds and ends to catch up on.

First of all, I’ve had a handful of stories published over on the Matador Network in the past couple weeks: an introduction to a serious local ultra race — The Yukon Arctic Ultra: The World’s Toughest Race? — and two stories about my Alaskan beer adventures. Check out The Beer Frontier: Binge Drinking in Alaska and the accompanying Guide to Beer Drinking in Alaska.

Next up, a photo from my time at Slaven’s Roadhouse.

On my first night, we had 7 mushers and more than 75 dogs pass through, in addition to the 8 volunteers, the race judge and the veterinarian already camped out there. As you can imagine, the result was an awful lot of parkas, mittens, dog booties and other wet winter gear hanging up above the wood stove:

It’s been a busy few weeks, with nearly 5000 new kilometers added to the odometer in my Jeep, and as always I’ve come back from my latest trip to Alaska with more ideas than I know what to do with. I think I’m ready to settle down for awhile and do some serious reading, pitching and writing.

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I arrived home in Whitehorse last night after a successful trip into Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve — I was a volunteer at Slaven’s Roadhouse, a remote dog drop location on the Yukon Quest trail. Photos and more coming soon, in the meantime I’ll just note that using an outhouse at -50 (a new experience for me) wasn’t nearly as painful as I’d expected.

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So instead of retracing our steps from Anchorage up the Glenn Highway and along the Tok Cut-off to the Alaska Highway, we took a last-minute detour up the Parks Highway to Fairbanks, then headed south to Tok along the Richardson Highway. It was worth the detour: We had clear views of Mt. McKinley for much of the day’s drive between Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Here’s a shot I took at our lunch stop in Talkeetna:

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Off to Anchorage

I’m hitting the highway first thing tomorrow morning, headed for Alaska’s biggest city and something the good folks there like to call “Beer Week.” Yeah, story research is hard, right? Stay tuned.

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It’s been a busy seven weeks or so since my last update. I’m in New York this week and am, as always, thrilled to be here. There are a couple of travel-themed readings on the go in the next couple of days – I’ll post more about those soon.

What else? I attended a major Alaskan tourism event last month and came home full of trip/story ideas, so I’ll hope to pull some of those together in the coming months.

A few more of the stories I’ve worked on have been appearing on World Hum. Check ’em out:

    • A Cup of Coffee and a Soft Chair: After 14 months traveling overland from Beijing to Istanbul, Joel Carillet faced a gingerbread latte — and a series of unexpected fears
      Sea Change: With her marriage on the rocks, Catha Larkin headed to Baja’s Sea of Cortez seeking “a bit of the blue”
  • We also had some fun getting a Twitter game off the ground a few weeks back – here are the best of the results: 23 Great Fake Travel Quotes

    Lastly, the new edition of The Best American Travel Writing hit bookstores at the end of September. Four World Hum stories were included in the notable selections, and several World Hum writers were honored for work that appeared elsewhere, too. Always nice to see.

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    My recent ATIA-sponsored trip was my first foray into Alaska proper — up to now, I’d only visited the panhandle towns of Skagway and Haines — and boy, was it something. The trip was an eight-day whirlwind: We visited seven cities, towns or settlements, two national parks and an array of isolated roadhouses and lodges; sat through five short-haul flights, one bus ride, one train ride and two long days in the car; and ate fresh local salmon on at least five occasions.

    I’m still absorbing the trip and sifting through the highlights (not to mention about 800 photos and several pounds of brochures), but I know one thing for certain: I was left wanting more. Here are a few of the future trips I’ve been daydreaming about:

    The Dalton Highway, seen from the air


    The Dalton Highway: The road north to Prudhoe Bay and the Alaskan oil fields has been on my To Do list for awhile now, but flying partway up its length on this trip has knocked it up a few priority notches.

    Hikers emerging from the Denali backcountry


    Denali National Park: My 24 hours in the park wasn’t nearly enough. I want to go back for at least a week and do some serious hiking.

    The Richardson Highway, south of Black Rapids


    The Richardson Highway: This road hadn’t previously been on my radar, but it’s a historic route lined with vintage roadhouses and great views. In particular, I’d like to get back and spend some time at The Lodge at Black Rapids, a beautiful family-owned spot where we stopped for a snack and a tour.

    The old copper mill in Kennicott


    McCarthy, Kennicott and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park: What a package deal. McCarthy’s got that small-town Alaskan hospitality, Kennicott’s a mining ghost town with history I could geek out on for days, and together they form the gateway to the near-endless backcountry of Wrangell St. Elias, the largest U.S. national park. More, please.

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    Last week I spent four days hiking the Chilkoot Trail, the old Gold Rush route that runs from Dyea, outside Skagway, AK, over the mountains and across the Canada-U.S. border to Bennett Lake, where the stampeders boarded boats to the Klondike.

    I’m hoping to write more about the trip at some point, but in the meantime here’s a shot from Day 2, just past the summit on the Canadian side of the border.

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